JERUSALEM (Feb. 24)
Undersecretary of State W. Averell Harriman, his plane delayed by engine trouble, arrived in Israel and went immediately into conference with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol and Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister.
Informed sources here described his emergency mission as a public gesture intended by the Unites States to reassure Israel of American support, It was also suggested that the timing of the visit was significant, since it was taking place against a background of Arab propaganda efforts to create a picture of Israel as being isolated from western aid.
Officials here tended to minimize the role of the current West German-Israel crisis–stemming from Bonn’s action two weeks ago in halting arms shipments to Israel–in the Harriman visit. They did so, apparently, out of concern that West Germany interpret the visit as softening Israel’s vigorously negative reaction to the Bonn arms cutoff.
The talks were expected to cover a wide range of subjects in addition to the West German issue. Participants will include Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin. The United States Embassy here announced that “recent developments connected with Israel, Egypt, West Germany and East Germany undoubtedly will be the subjects of the talks.”
It was assumed that problems of arms imbalance as between Israel and the Arab countries, heavily supplied with Soviet weapons, would be a major topic, It was understood that Israel would ask that in the future arms be directly supplied by the United States instead of through a third party.